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Peat is made up of partially decayed plant material, usually in wet areas. It is composed mainly of wetland vegetation: principally bog plants including mosses, sedges and shrubs and has been used extensively as a growing medium/soil improver for many years.
The commercial extraction of peat at existing rates is considered by some people to be environmentally unsustainable as it removes peat at a much faster rate than it accumulates leading to the irreversible destruction of peatlands. This premise however has been challenged by a number of sudies. Read More.
Many viable peat alternatives exist which are either completely peat-free or of reduced peat content. However many plants have evolved to grow in a peat environment e.g. Azalea (Rhododendron) and growers find that growing seeds or cuttings in peat is a necessity.
Peat is often used as a constituent part of a bonsai soil mix where an organic component is desired.
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